25 September 2006

Super duper

For the few of you who've somehow overlooked the lack of posts, I apologize. I doubt it'll get any better for awhile, but I'll try.

I've had quite a few ideas lately that I've been anxious to write about, but unforseen circumstances (fucking fire) has chased away a lot of the opportunity to share.

So I'll post on everything I can remember that I believe you should know, and hopefully I'll have the means to properly blog like a whore sometime soon.

First, I've seen an upswing in enthusiastic religious-ness lately, and an equal force to balance them out. Movies like the upcoming documentary "Jesus Camp" seem to be an unnerving look at what a group can do to influence everyone they believe are against them. The film--at least what I can tell from the trailer--centers around Evangelical Christians' beliefs in the kids (the future of their church). With rat-tailed ten-year-olds talking as if they were well-read preachers, and well-read preachers pointing out their communities voting power, I'm a bit concerned that objectivity (HA!) and religious freedom (see: the freedom to not believe in anything) could be lost in favor of a more powerful majority. But shit, perhaps I'm still a bit shell-shocked: that type of power swing won't happen for at least another 25 months.

Second, I enjoy television. The past few years have been both amazing and soul-crushing: for every minute of Arrested Development over its abbreviated three seasons, there've been thirty versions of According to Jim-type sitcoms. But I can ignore the latter, and having the former makes my life happier. Over the summer, I added House as my guilty-pleasure type of show. Its protagonist is sarcastic (like me!) and can't run a mile (yes!) and can figure out what type of disease somebody has by yelling at his highly-paid assistants to do more tests (two out of three is close enough for empathy). Add on a highly-encouraging first few episodes of Studio 60, and you've got me watching television an entire three nights per week.

Third (both in list- and television-night-form), is the new season of The Office. Wow. I had to watch it at work, which means that most customers that came in that Thursday night were severly neglected. If you haven't seen it yet, get it done--the touch of having Ed Helms come in as the psycho-literal-thinking Ivy-league alum is perfect, and the show can outlast its British counterpart by a few seasons.

Fourth, Paul Masson White Zinfandel wine (see: devil wine) makes me do dumb things, but makes those dumb things seem infinitely fun at the time.

Finally, I've got lots of random ideas that I've been neglecting to act upon lately. So, instead of letting them die in my head, I'll soon start sharing them with all of you--not necessarily the thinkers of the bunch, but maybe the do-ers.

20 September 2006

Newsflash: Detroit invents car to traverse the length of US in four minutes (or less)!

This is a video by the brother of the guy who directed "Eternal Sunshine..." and the upcoming "The Science of Sleep." Perhaps not extremely laureliscious, but he belongs to a creative family and obviously shares some of his brother's talent. This video is a 4 minute clip of linked-together videos of a drive from LA-to-NYC.

Videos like this make me want to buy a videocamera, so I have an excuse to do things (besides not having anything better to do).

18 September 2006

Jagshemash!


Sacha Baron Cohen's good at being a person. While this clip is over two years old (and focuses on the Ali G character his show is based on), it still proves that the new Borat movie could be the greatest movie ever.

Trailer for "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" below.

15 September 2006

My conscience has a monotone voice

Want to feel helpless and distant? Feeling too good about yourself and/or the world? Need a bit of a realignment without the hassle of enrolling in a time-consuming cult religion?

Watch “The Corporation.”


I did, and most of the conditions above apply now much more than they did before.

You already know the popular theme of the movie (unless you don’t, then you probably can’t read me call you dumb either)—corporations are greedy! There seems to be a bit more to it than that, though, because the tricky filmmakers made a 90-minute documentary out of this single subject.

Within the first five minutes, I knew that I was going to be cheering for these ambitious documentors. They said, with words and pictures and video, a [popular] thought I’ve had lately about corporations—that they’ve replaced the Catholic church, monarchies and fascists as the dominant form of influence. These entities continue on with little resistance (or regard) for outside parties, just as those others did for centuries.

The evidence of worker neglect, environmental neglect, cultural neglect, social neglect, commercial neglect, political neglect and cow-puss-milk grows daunting halfway through, with little hope of ever stopping. But then the solutions do come: the masses banding together to vote with their dollar, stop oppression and take back some of the power. “The Revolution,” I suppose.

Thinking more about the “us versus them” idea, that corporations are similar to totalitarian governments—institutions that need to be overthrown with force after diplomacy fails—I don’t think customer backlash can stop corporate greed. I don’t think making money will go out of style any time soon, either. Like the movie points out—some corporations knowingly break laws because it’s more cost-effective than working around them.

So what’s the solution to all these unsustainable corporations? (With unsustainable, I’m using a term from the movie—the idea that corporations leave a footprint on the world—use more resources/pollute more than they help). I can throw seven ideas out there, I suppose:

1. Start implementing the death penalty for a corporation’s legal person.

2. Light a bag of shit outside the front door of every corporate office in America. Run like hell.

3. Go to work for one of the most morally-absent corporations, like Wal-Mart or the Gap. Bring them down from the inside by performing your job less-than-spectacularly.

4. Instead of eating or taking prescription drugs that create huge profits for McDonalds and Pfizer, respectively, shoot heroin. All the time.

5. Turn off your television, for it has a death grip (and surprising influence) on your buying habits. Instead, write your congressional representative. Those guys and gals could use the encouragement as they fight the thankless, honest fight.

6. Adopt a highway. Then charge a toll. Eventually, you can incorporate. Then you can figure out how to rob those fucking little bastards that keep trying to bring you down.

7. Bitch about how hopeless the fight is on the web. It helps, because the people that’ll read it will care. Obviously.

12 September 2006

Never thought of using a turkey baster before...

This Mastercard ad featuring Macguyver being Mac-fucking-guyver is probably pretty old--I believe I saw it months ago--but I laughed out loud when I saw it again tonight.

There's just something about having a commercial featuring everyone's favorite clepto, Billy Crudup saying "turkey baster" (in an oddly funny way), and Richard Dean Anderson stuffing a tube sock in his pocket at a convenience store that makes it a noteworthy advertisement for consumerism.

11 September 2006

Black umbrellas for a rainy day


I had originally intended to post absolutely nothing on the inescapable topic of the day/week. I figured I had no new information, perspective, thoughts or revelations to share on something so serious to so many people.

Then I saw people on my MSN friends list adding small little airplanes to commemorate the five year anniversary, and I was befuddled at the attempt at some joint sympathetic symbol. It seemed like too ironic a gesture, as if it was pandering to a collective necessity to do something without putting any real thought into the gesture itself. When a few friends confirmed that it truly was what I had originally thought, I was blown away. The reason was one of convenience and a lack of alternatives, but it blew me back a bit at the time.

Now I’m over it. People should be allowed to express themselves however they like. I strongly disagree with airplanes as a symbol of unity, but I also disagree with the idea of Nicholas Cage starring in a movie about the entire ordeal. Both have their hearts in the right place, I suppose, and for today (at least) that’s enough.

I was one of the few who, five years ago, were privileged enough to not feel an immediate fear for our country’s well-being. Sure, I watched 18 of every 24 hours of news coverage, and I became hopeful when each survivor was found. but I never thought that we’d collapse upon ourselves and dive into an anarchistic state—though it seemed like it at every local gas station.

And we didn’t. And we all became extremely patriotic for awhile, and supported Bush, and some even generalized all Muslims as anti-American.

So now, five years later, we’re all a little less outwardly patriotic than we were, but still emotional about it. Some people choose to put planes up, others wear ribbons, or make movies. I write, contributing absolutely nothing (as I promised). I hope everyone who was hurt more by 9/11 than I has reached some form of peace over the last five years.

05 September 2006

It's almost that time...

The Office comes back in a few weeks, and I don't think I need to repeat how anxious I am. The future of Pam/Jim, Michael's love triangle drama, and Scrantonicity's next major gig.

I caught a bit of the NBC preview show when it first aired and really only paid attention during these clips that were interspersed throughout the special.

None of this has jack to do with Season 3, which is a great thing when you consider the completely random results.

04 September 2006

Finally, some godamn fiction

Tonight I got into a life-affirming mood and decided to read some of my freewriting from two years ago. I was expecting a lot of angst and uncertainty about the future. While those were major topics in the writing—as they were major topics in my simplified lifeat the time—I was surprised at the level they were developed.

Usually when I freewrite, I only get about a page of ranting out before I retreat into self-consciousness and bury the file as quickly as possible. But sometimes it’s nice to reflect back on what I wrote when I was trying to get over myself and write some fucking fiction (as I’ve been trying to do lately).

And there were a few story-starters that were complete fuck-offs, as they were meant to be, that remind me of a few stories I’ve written since with ironic tones. So, as a change of pace from my usual bullshitted-ness and egotism, I’ve decided to post one of these lost first paragraphs. The first paragraph was truly written, in the present unaltered [and purposefully clich├ęd] form, nearly two years ago. This is actually pretty close to “flash fiction” (as I’ve included a newly-written conclusion to make the entire story weigh in at 122 words).

To all prospective publishers and literary agents: you can contact me at thiejos@gmail.com to discuss future book deals and my [slightly negotiable] $1,000,000 advance.


“Dreams!”

Many of the greatest things in life are mistakes, as my parents kept telling me. Columbus stumbled upon America, Coca-Cola turned out to be a tasty soft drink, and myself—they said my future accomplishments would more than make up for the regret of their cracked-out prom night and a failed marriage. They said they didn’t want to put pressure on me at all. Sometime shortly after that, they would remind me that they’d kill or disown me—whichever current or future laws would allow—if I ever gave up on myself or their dreams for me.

So, in short, that was the moment I happened upon the nuclear warheads—by mistake, I’m contending—and decided to hold the world at ransom.

01 September 2006

Global Warming [hearts] Threadless

I need to learn how to use definitives and understatement much more in my everyday life. Like “global warming is exactly like the holocaust.”

Is it just me, or are the three major networks making an above-average effort to vend shit on primetime television? Earlier this summer, it was To Catch a Predator on NBC, with creepy guys getting caught walking into underage kids’ homes naked. Then, Primetime on ABC tried to debunk every popular myth of American middle school lunchtimes. Now, ABC narrows down the different ways to a convenient list of five, in their Last Days on Earth. Think Armageddon + An Inconvenient Truth + Dr. Strangelove + a shit load of assumption and guessing – all common sense.

There was no new information given out during the entire show, besides the recurring theme: we all need to be very, very fucking scared of the end of the world, because it’s coming.

I had a strong feeling as the top threat was announced—drumroll….global warming—there was some political agenda behind the show. “Yes, nuclear winter would technically kill every person not smart enough to become a mole person very soon, but a drastic global climate change would displace a bunch of people, kill the polar bears and prove Al Gore right.” Am I missing something?

I’ve said before, strongly, that I agree with the science behind global warming. I know there is a problem, because it seems as if our earth’s atmosphere should have boiled itself already with all the damn factories, SUV’s and smoking dogs in the world. The way it’s always presented, though, is through fear campaigns meant to jolt the Law and Order-watching public into action. Showing how quickly the Avian Flu could wipe out the world is one thing, but then saying that global warming is a hundred million fucking times worse reinforces your point.

News agencies, as I’ve come to expect, are supposed to be shitty to a degree, so I can forgive ABC on the grounds that they’re no more whorish for viewers and ad revenue as any other major network. The main problem comes when this fear inspires spite within sedentary people who depend on the very resources and services that offend global warmists the most.

Georgy Bush doesn’t believe in global warming. He does believe in God, however. Gerogy Bush’s family has made a bit of money off the oil industry. God hasn’t, in any direct and measurable way, made the Bush family any money. So global warming threatens to eliminate the importance of oil, and therefore Georgy’s economic health. It actually heightens the importance of a Savior figure—with the world ending and all—but the savings account doesn’t change with this omnipotent factor.

The same might hold true for line workers in the automobile industry, the coal mining industry, the Dunder-Mifflin Paper industry and the Frank’s Air Conditioners and More factory warehouse.

When presented with a dire situation eighty years down the road and a dire situation next paycheck, most logical people will choose to fix the latter first. Could this be why some dismiss global warming as less-imminently-dangerous than what Alberto Gore claims?

Maybe.

So if the issue is the lower to middle working class’ [justified] fear over losing their jobs as companies spend more to pollute less, something has to be done to curb that fear. And if another half of the problem is that well-off people consume at a rate six to eight times more than citizens of other countries, then that problem needs to be fixed as well.

There has to be some middle ground, between nothing and everything, that takes the power away from the money-hungry corporations willing to kill the planet for immediate rewards; that rewards the blue-collar worker just as equally as their white-collar counterparts; that levels the playing field between rich and poor, abolishing meaningless class systems in favor of one unionized human race class; that abolishes wealth and poverty with a swift movement towards shared prosperity.

You know where I’m headed, don’t you?

But first off, I’d like to apologize in advance. Right now, I’m apologizing.

For what? For keeping this secret. I was selfish, thinking that I could keep an idea all to myself and somehow gain an advantage over you. But the guilt got to me. I think it’s guilt. Or apathy—it could be apathy.

But anyways, I’m over it, and I felt like I needed to apologize first (see: above), then let you in on my next big idea. I originally thought that I’d call Al up after I thought the idea through completely, and demand some sort of payment (or student-loan-forgiving, preferably); I reconsidered once I remembered I don’t have his phone number, and that I wouldn’t call him even if I DID. He should call me…

So what’s the answer to the masses’ need for a Savior figure to swoop down and rescue them from balmy temperatures?

Socialized refrigeration.

Free refrigerators for all. Energy-saving fuckers, too. Low emissions.

I don’t care if you’re a 78-year-old man with a shredded knee or a 22-year-old artist with no boyfriend and your own opinion, you deserve a free fridge [and my phone number, in the case of the latter].

What do we do with the old refrigerators? Give them to the homeless. Cardboard will no longer be manufactured specifically for the transient folk; instead, the sturdy energy-eaters will fend off rain, cold and smoking dogs without wasting any electricity or paper. The government would also, obviously, save money on low-income housing by nailing together a few fridges! Studio apartment dwellers would also gain a valuable perspective on life by comparing their spacious 320-square-feet with the cozy 72-cubic-foot alternative. Wins all around!

This is a solution that can be reached in as little as a Saturday at Sears. So write your senators to tell them you need a Free Fucking Fridge!

Problem solved.


All the pictures are from Threadless T-Shirts, and are coincidentally available in t-shirt form.